Sunday, February 1, 2009
Based on appearance, Owen looks like a completely normal 6 year old little boy. I knew from the day I brought this beautiful baby home that their was something different about him.
Owen was baby #4 for me...#1 for his dad. This caused problems from the start. His dad wanted to sterilize the entire house...I was more of the lick off the Binky and give it back to him kind of parent (OK, not literally, but you tent to be more paranoid with the first baby than you do with the fourth, so we were butting heads a lot). I had post-partum depression, so after about 6 weeks I had to give up breast feeding and take some drugs in order to function (Tom Cruise can kiss my ass). Owen was never a great sleeper. He would never just fall asleep. We would have to wrap him up like a burrito; nice and tight. We had to walk around with him, bounce him up and down, and 'shush' him just to get him to sleep. I didn't think much of it...it had been 6 years since Sophie was a newborn, and 12 years since Dustyn was, so I thought maybe I just forgot what it was like....
I don't remember anything specific that stood out as being different with Owen for the next year or so. He reached all his milestones at age appropriate times. It wasn't until he was 2.5 and I enrolled him in pre-school that I noticed that he was not like the other kids.
I just thought Owen was shy. I thought that once he got used to his new surroundings, he would start talking to his teacher and the other children. This never happened. At the Christmas programs, he would stand on the stage and stare ahead, like a deer caught in headlights, while all the other kids sang the songs and waved at their parents. His teacher was wonderful with him, even though he barely spoke to her. He got an award for being the best colorer in his class. Even at 3, he always stayed inside the lines.
I was still attributing all of Owen's quirks to his shyness. Then we had a tragedy that started Owen on a downward spiral that sent me on a mission to find out, once and for all, just what was tormenting him. Owen's teacher, our beloved Miss Eleina, left the pre-school. This was when Owen suffered the first noticeable setback. He didn't want to go anymore. His new teacher had no control over his class. The kids were too noisy...he didn't like all the noise. for 6 long months I carried him into pre-school, sometimes on my back, sometimes kicking and screaming, down 2 flights of steps to his classroom where he would try to hide under a table. His teacher would always assure me that he was fine as soon as I left. I found out later that his refuge under the table is where he would remain for most of the day.
The straw that finally broke the camel's back was the day I took him to pre-school and had to carry him down those steps, crying hysterically. I had been begging him to tell me what was wrong, and all he would say was, "I don't like DJ, DJ says bad words." I decided to go to the administrator, who just happened to be a child psychologist, and ask her to move him up to her class. I knew he was old enough, and I knew she had an opening, so I didn't see this as a problem. I approached her and told her my concern. I told her I had no idea what was going on, and all he would tell me was that he didn't like DJ, and I knew it had to be more than that. Her response to me was, "We all have to learn to get along with people we don't like."
Really? We do? Well, I knew what I didn't have to do: I didn't have to pay that woman $200/week for my kid to be traumatized! I knew that this DJ child was not the problem, but Owen did not know how to explain to me what the actual problem was. I was dumbfounded and speechless by what she had said to me. I had no choice but to leave him there, along with Ella-Belle, so I could get to work. He was in tears, I was in tears....I whispered in his ear that I would never make him come back there after that day.
And we never went back.
To be continued...